Let me precede this entry with a caveat. I am steadily developing a better understanding of Vazra as time marches forward. I’m learning more about his personality, his temperament, his moods, and his overall approach to life (which, in some respects, is rather bizarre, but more on that later). I knew enough about him to rescue him from certain starvation and death (due to his dental problems alone), so it’s not as though I was ignorant of his persona before I brought him inside, but, as with all living things, there’s still quite a bit about him that remains a mystery. What I don’t know is what I would have learned had he grown up with me.
This process lends itself, as it has with all pets both current and past, to the development of nicknames. In his case, however, I am presently unable to call him by any such monikers while focusing on teaching him his real name. Without knowing what he was called when he was abandoned here at the lake, it’s my responsibility to help him learn that “Vazra” refers to him and not some other or ethereal entity hidden in the shadows. I’ve already developed two nicknames for him based on how he acts and looks, but it will be some time before I’m able to use them as easily as I do with the rest of the feline inhabitants of our abode. Given his age, in fact, it may never be that he will know and respond to any nicknames, although I strongly suspect that time and effort will help him associate with his new name.
One of Vazra’s nicknames is Grumpy. It’s not that he’s a grumpy cat. Well, he can be from time to time when he doesn’t get his way, but that’s true of all of them. No, Vazra is called Grumpy because of his Persian features. Take this photo for instance.
It’s the down-turned mouth, the smashed-in face, the overly large eyes, and the general structure of his phizog that all conspire to make him appear less than hospitable. These are typical Persian traits and not unique to him. You’d find as I do, I think, that all Persian cats look like they’re forever constipated. Or something. They just tend to look uncomfortable and unapproachable, as though they’re always having a bad day.
Even when Vazra is skipping about the house demonstrating his insane antics, one might wrongfully assume he’s a breath away from going postal. At minimum, you might conclude you shouldn’t reach out to him for fear of pulling back a bloody appendage in return.
I won’t deny he has his moments of meanness. As I’ve said before, not having raised him from kittenhood means his personality is not as predictable as the others, yet it’s increasingly predictable and subsequently indicative of a bit of defensiveness on his part that I’m quickly learning to anticipate and intercept. That aside, he’s a very lovable cat who is dearly sweet and people friendly. He just doesn’t look like it.
[pardon the quality of the photo; I had to lighten it up to ‘try’ making his facial features more apparent; unlike the other cats, his black fur is solid and absorbs most light, and that makes photographing him a wee bit more difficult if I’m looking to capture something other than just a black mass of fur]
Treats! Hey, it works with this bunch.
Don’t we all…
But if treats work in this household, there’s no reason we shouldn’t give it a try elsewhere.
These are various observations about Vazra…
He is a lap kitty.
He gives kisses.
He gives love bites, and he did so immediately following his dental surgery (as well as before).
Although larger than Kako in size, he actually weighs less than she does. He’s a rather petite guy when you get beyond the fluffy fur. Like Loki, he’s mostly hair. Loki, though, weighs significantly more and is much larger than Vazra. Given proper measurements of weight and mass, he’s actually the smallest cat in the house, although his fine-ass coat makes him a wee bit larger than Woman.
He asks for what he wants.
He drinks from my glass of water. That means all five of them do it with absolute comfort. Good.
He knows what food sounds like both when it comes from a can and when it comes from a bag; likewise, he is quickly learning to recognize the sounds of various treat containers.
He will eat out of my hand and will take food from between my fingers, and he does it gently. Kazon, on the other hand, readily bites through my fingers, and that forces me to feed him only in an open hand. Kako is gentle, however, like Vazra, and has only nipped me by accident when trying to take food from between my fingers.
He listens and responds. He’s quite talkative.
He purrs at the drop of a hat.
He gives head butts.
He’s in no way put off by me putting my face near his, and he allows me to kiss and nuzzle him without negative reactions. But he is still finicky in ways I don’t understand. His reactions are not strongly predictable like the others.
He is rather lackadaisical with his response to the rest of The Kids. He growls a bit if they approach when he’s trying to sleep or when he doesn’t see them coming. He does get a bit overly excited at times and can be a bit rude with swings and hisses, but these times are rare and I’m learning how to predict and intercept them.
He rolls over and likes his belly rubbed. He seems quite sensitive about when this is acceptable.
He sleeps with me all night.
He pays no attention whatsoever to the other cats when he decides he’s going to lie down. This can sometimes be a very minor point of contention (it has thus far not caused any violence).
He has the largest eyes of all The Kids. They very much augment his other Persian features.
He can be very temperamental. I’m still learning about his personality. Unlike the other cats, I was not around for his entire life, so it is up to me to figure him out and help him adapt to life in this home. While I’m learning, there are still times when I’m surprised. There are even times when I’m not sure if he’s going to hurt me. He never has, and even his most violent responses are tempered and subdued. And I’ve really pissed him off from time to time (especially with forcefully brushing his belly, chest, the back of his legs, and under his arms). Live and learn… Still, he is not a violent animal and reacts with restraint even under the most violative of circumstances.
He’s been playing with Kazon more often than anyone else. This is normal as Kazon is the child of the family and loves to play. He has no problem forcing it on others when his inner child breaches the surface and demands attention — and that’s pretty much all of the time. When he’s forced it on Vazra, the reaction has been mixed. They’ve played the majority of times. I think that’s wonderful.
One of his nicknames (the first, although not likely the last) is Brat. That has everything to do with his tendency to be quite vocal in ways that resemble a tantrum, and also his temperamental personality that can lead to entertaining but thus far not dangerous moments of “I want! I want! I want!”
He’s learned to use all of the cat furniture, although we’re still working on his rare inclination to use the love seat for a scratching post. I’ve always hated it anyway, and I intend to get rid of it ASAP as it’s one of the final vestiges of Derek, yet I’m still working with him to ensure he understands what’s to be used for that purpose and what is off limits. That will be important when I finally get rid of the POS love seat.
His plaintive cries to go outside, or those echoed throughout the house when I step outside for any purpose, are tapering off rapidly now. If I’m out for longer than expected, he’ll show up at the door and start crying, but he’s becoming more comfortable both with being inside and with my comings and goings.
He loves to be in contact with me.
Like Kazon, he follows me often, much like a puppy. Some of that may be his lack of comfort with new surroundings, in which case it will decline as we move forward. It never did with Kazon, so it might never change with Vazra.
He can be quite psychotic when left to his own devices. Without me seeing him, there are times when he’ll awake, find his way to some arbitrary door or cabinet, then suddenly beat on it while singing a woeful tale. It’s funny. It’s also a bit sad insomuch as he still reaches times when he knows he’s not in his usual element and desperately wants to find some order in things. In time…
Did I mention he’s psychotic? When he’s completely wound up and feeling particularly frisky, he spins in circles. I at first thought he was chasing his own tail. Further observation proved that wrong. He just spins in a rapid circle. More often than not, he does it two or three times, if not more. He’ll do it even more often when he’s in a mood.
He’s quickly becoming more playful. He did not play at all for the first few days he was in his new home. I’ve tried continually to engage him and have enjoyed progressive results. In fact, now he’s playing on his own from time to time. It’s been wonderful to see him dropping the façade and stoicism more regularly.
I’m rather amazed with how personable he is. It will be quite interesting to see how he responds to newcomers when that time comes.
I have seen in him the same deep reservoir of existence I see in all the other kids, a deep well from which his personality springs. Without the gift of watching him grow up in my care, I am as entertained by his antics as I am in learning who he is and what he’s about. I knew sufficient amounts of both before I rescued him. Had I not, I would never have entertained trying to adopt him. Based on the results thus far, confirming once again at least some minor level of expertise in observation, I’m thrilled with the results of my integration efforts and the overall “spirit” of home. I see in The Kids a great deal of myself. Their acceptance of Vazra is a perfect example. He’s an outsider, a stranger, an unknown, a possible danger to them and theirs, and he certainly is not a part of the normal scheme of things. Yet here he is, and they have essentially accepted him into our home since his introduction. It’s amazing. It’s more than amazing, actually; it’s quite extraordinary in a most intriguing way.
Yet it’s not statistically impossible. My guess is I’m quite lucky in this regard, somehow gifted with four cats who are so entirely comfortable with their supremacy that an intruder is not considered a threat.
I’m sure it’s far less complicated than that. Or is it?
I’m assuming I own this place, right?